By: E&P Staff
A convicted murderer found his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, last week but may not remain there long, thanks to a Maryland newspaper.
The cremated remains of Russell Wagner, 52, were placed at the Virginia cemetery at the request of his sister. At the time of his death, Wagner was in prison serving two life sentences for killing an elderly Maryland couple in 1994.
Their son, Vernon Davis, felt outrage over the Arlington honors. His local paper in Hagerstown, the Herald-Mail, brought the matter to the attention of cemetery officials. An Arlington spokeswoman, Lori Calvillo, told the paper a murder conviction would normally rule out burial there, promising that the Army’s top lawyer will review the case after the military confirms Wagner’s conviction.
She said that the cemetery had no paperwork indicating Wagner’s conviction.
Wagner was an Army Private 1st Class who served from Sept. 13, 1969, to Sept. 1, 1972, and was discharged honorably. His service at Arlington included a bugler who played taps, a firing party that gave Wagner a three-shot salute, and the traditional folding and unfolding of the American flag, Calvillo told the Herald-Mail.